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Oct 2021

All About Back Pain

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All about back pain

What causes back pain?  

What should I do if I have back pain?

What are the symptoms of back pain?

Don’t believe in quick fixes and don’t rush in for treatment.

When is back pain considered serious?

At one point in our lives most of us will encounter a time where we will have back pain. Back pain is quick common especially low back pain and is can reoccur. The good news is that most back pains are not very serious and traditional rest and treatments can be very helpful.  

What can cause back pain?  

There can be many causes of back pain and often can develop without a cause. Some common conditions that can lead to back pain are:

Muscle or Ligament Strains where sudden awkward movements or repetitive heavy lifting can strain back muscles. The majority of back pain is usually due to a muscle or ligament strain especially when improper technique or repetitive heavy lifting.   

Arthritis such as osteoarthritis can affect the lower back.  

Osteoporosis whereby the spine’s vertebrae can develop painful fractures if your bones become brittle and porous.  

Bulging or ruptured discs. The discs in your back act as cushions or shock absorbers. The soft tissues of the disc can bulge or rupture causing back pain if there is pressure on the nerve.  

Conditions such as DDD or degenerative disc disease, sciatica and piriformis syndrome can cause pain in the back.   

What should one do if you have back pain?  

Almost everyone will experience back pain at some point in their lives whether by activities of daily living or work related injuries. In the late fall and winter months cleaning up the garden or shovelling the snow can cause lower back pain. Some back pains can be quite severe and painful especially when there is pressure on a nerve in cases of Degenerative Disc Disease (in some cases), a slipped or bulging disc or sciatica which is the longest nerve in the body.   

The good news is that most people will recover reasonably quickly (usually within 6 to 8 weeks) and can often be without the need of seeing a medical health professional such as your doctor or physiotherapist.   

Some cases of back pain can re-occur especially if one has had low back pain in the past and it was never completely resolved. Before worrying about recurring low back pain one should look at and understand what triggers the back pain in the first place so that it can be prevented in the future. For example repetitive heavy lifting or improper techniques can lead to lower back pain.  

What are the symptoms of back pain? 

Back pains can range from muscle aches and pains to burning or stabbing sensations. Conditions where a nerve has been pressed upon such as sciatica can lead to shooting pain or referring pain where the pain goes from the lower back down the leg or legs (sciatica usually has pains referring down one leg although in some cases both can be painful). Most back pains gradually improve over time with proper home treatment over a course of a few weeks. If pains persists or get worse you should seek help from a health professional. A majority of back pains if serious can be successfully treated by a physiotherapist, massage therapist or acupuncturist. Other professionals such as a medical doctor and chiropractor can help as well.  

Don’t believe in quick fixes or rush into treatments

Since most back pains are of the minor type a period of rest and home care should be enough to help manage and cure the pain. Be wary of new gadgets, creams and ointments that promise instant relief. Many or most of them have no scientific background and a majority of them will not help. If the pain hasn’t gotten better or resolved itself within a couple of weeks then it may be time to seek professional advice. 

Muscle or ligament strains, sciatica, piriformis syndrome and conditions such as DDD or degenerative disc disease can be successfully treated by our staff of health professionals. Conditions where pain refers to other areas or those affected by pressure on the nerve often see very good results with physiotherapy and/or acupuncture.   

When is back pain considered serious?

As mentioned before in most cases back pain is usually muscle related and may only take a few weeks to resolve itself. If the pain is dull and achy this most likely is the result of a muscle related injury. So when is back pain considered serious?

If you feel sharp pains this could be a result of a torn muscle or ligament or a problem with an internal organ.  

Radiating pain is often the result of compression of the nerves where the pain radiates down the leg such as in sciatica.  

Sudden weakness in the legs can also be the result of a compression of the nerves in the lower back (again the sciatic nerve).   

Pins and needles in the glutes and or groin area.  

Finally we recommend regular exercise such as walks, riding a bike or gym activities. Regular exercise will also help recovery of back pain conditions. So stay safe and stay active.  

If your back pain persists or you find the back pain is serious such as in sciatica or referring pain contact our staff at Dynamic Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Clinic Inc. We can often schedule an appointment within 48 hours and can directly bill most insurance companies. Contact us at 905-273-5433 or via our website where one can schedule an appointment through our site.

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